Home The Week in Links The Week In Links–May 10th

The Week In Links–May 10th

Stoya plays Marie Antoinette at Molly Crabapple's recent art opening. (Photo by Jennifer Loeber)
Stoya plays Marie Antoinette at Molly Crabapple’s recent art opening. (Photo by Jennifer Loeber)

Seven sex workers’ rights organizations have been denied the right to intervene in the Supreme Court case deciding the constitutionality of Canada’s prostitution laws. However, many religious and abolitionist groups supporting the prostitution laws will be allowed a hearing, much to sex workers’ rights advocates’ outrage.

Nassau County is the first county in NY state to disallow condoms as evidence in prostitution cases. The NY Times covered the continuing struggle to get the no-condoms-as-evidence bill passed in the state legislature since 1999, quoting Sierra Baskin, co-director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, extensively.

Texan rad fems discover escort review sites the way Columbus discovered America, and don’t allow an opportunity to create legislation based on  trafficking hysteria to go to waste. The New Statesman’s Helen Lewis is also full of puritanical outrage about Britain’s Punternet.

Similarly, the Australian media discovers camgirls.

Alternative porn star Stoya gets a great profile in the Village Voice, in which she talks about her homeschooled childhood, loving New York, and speaking for herself in her Vice column and her tumblr rather than allowing journalists to distort her words.

A Lowell, Massachusetts police officer has been sentenced to two years in jail for extortion–he used his badge to coerce sex workers into having sex with him. How about a well deserved rape conviction instead?

The Scotland Herald warns that if the unofficial attitude of tolerance towards sex work in Scottish saunas were to be challenged, many sex workers would be forced into the street. The piece is a typical bit of melodramatic investigative journalism, referring to the “synchronized smiles” of sauna workers, but it does quote SCOT-PEP reps, sex worker political candidate Laurie Lee, and many sauna sex workers themselves.

A Baltimore cop and his 19 year old wife were arrested for advertising her services on an internet escort site. He’s being charged with human trafficking while she’s charged with prostitution. Make up your mind, Baltimore criminal justice system–is it sex slavery or is it voluntary sex work?

The Huffington Posts showcases photographer Jane Hilton’s series of nude portraits of Nevada brothel workers at their place of business. If you juxtapose each of these photos against one of the sad feelings conveyed in the comments section, it transforms this banal project into a really biting survey of concern-trolling anti-sex work discourse.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal on Tuesday deemed West Palm Beach’s “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” ordinance unconstitutional.  The law would have empowered police on sting operations to make arrests when a person discusses potential sexual acts with a “known prostitute”, even if no money is offered.

The children of four alleged victims of Robert Pickton, a Vancouver serial killer of street sex workers, have filed a civil suit in British Columbian Supreme Court against Pickton, his family members, the provincial government and the city of Vancouver. The suit claims that police and the government failed to warn Downtown Eastside women  that a serial killer was at large, and raises concerns about the way the cases were handled.

A former New Zealand sex offender has been sent back to jail for watching cartoon pixie porn. “…While the cartoon characters were elves and pixies, they were also clearly young elves and pixies, which led to concerns the images were linked to child sexual abuse.” And there’s yet more reductionist porn reporting in the Guardian this week. Luckily, there’s also an interview with the editors of  The Feminist Porn Book to cleanse one’s palate after looking at those stories.

Despite the objections of the porn industry and many porn performers themselves, legislation that would require condom use in all adult movie shoots passed a key committee in Sacramento recently.

Thai newspaper the Nation ran a story in which a sex worker from sex workers’ rights org EMpower comments on the recent controversy over Thailand’s prime minister Yingluck Shinwatra being called a prostitute: “Sex work is a job…They [people who use the word “prostitute” as a slur] don’t see us as human, though some of us are bread winners. They have forgotten to respect us as human.”

In India, the Durbar Mahila Samanywaya Committee, a sex workers’ rights org, boasts a much better record helping victims of trafficking than the Indian government does, claiming to have rescued 700 trafficked minors over the past decade. (Though the article erroneously calls DMSC an org for the “rehabilitation of sex workers.”) Meanwhile, in Ahmedabad, the Indira Gandhi National Open University has launched a bachelor’s preparatory program for sex workers in food and nutrition, waiving all fees for their attendance.

The most racist article of the year appeared in the Australian recently, on the topic of Aboriginal women and street sex work. It’s impressive, seeing how there’s so much stiff competition for the title, but this story managed it, painting Aboriginal men as violent rapists and the Aboriginal people as backwards, anti-social loafers.

File under Big Brother Is Watching You: The Australian city of Vincent is considering a high-tech surveillance system that captures images of vehicles and stores licence plate information to help track street sex work clients.

Continuing a surprising turnaround in their stance on sex work, Stuff.co.nz posted an op-ed piece quoting Scarlet Alliance reps Zahra Stardust and Janelle Fawkes at length, suggesting that the recent trend of sex workers providing relationship advice in the mainstream media  is a positive one because it “reduces the power of many of the misconceptions on our work” and allows readers to value sex workers’ counselling expertise. The Scarlet Alliance officers  went on to point out that if the media wants to put our unique skills to use, they should pay us back by supporting anti-discrimination protection, law reform, and funding for our advocacy. Amen.

A Melbourne health service informed the Australian  House of Representatives Inquiry into Slavery and People Trafficking that in trying to stamp out trafficking, authorities are using a heavy-handed approach that frightens migrant sex workers away from seeking advice on their rights.





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